Thanks to Salma Hayek Pinault’s CHIME for the Children of Syria campaign in 2015, more than $190,000 USD was raised from CHIME FOR CHANGE partners, supporters and global citizens.

Last April, CHIME FOR CHANGE Co-Founder Salma Hayek-Pinault travelled with UNICEF to meet Syrian children and mothers living in Lebanon to raise awareness of the impact of the conflict on their lives. At the time, more than 2.6 million children were missing out on school due to the ongoing crisis.

What is the real impact when partnerships, an activist, and the voices of global citizens come together for a good cause like education for children affected by conflict?

First you need to understand the problem. The crisis in Syria and conflicts around the world affect the most vulnerable children, preventing them from accessing education and removing the structure and security they need to survive and thrive.

Then you need to understand what forms impact can take. Impact can be as much about changing minds, hearts and impressions as it is about improving outcomes.

The impact that even one visit from an activist like Salma Hayek Pinault had on the kids in the camp, and that they had on her, is highly moving.

“I’m deeply inspired by the courage of the Syrian refugee children and their families that I met in Lebanon who, against the odds, and despite the harm they have suffered or witnessed, are still determined to endure life and hope for a better future. I’m also moved by the generosity so many Lebanese people have shown toward those seeking refuge in their country,” said Hayek-Pinault.

Extra funding has also started to take impact. Children living in Syria, as well as Syrian and host community children in Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq are learning and accessing support to help them cope with the violence they have experienced. Thanks in part to the donations of CHIME supporters in 2015, UNICEF has been able to achieve the following:

  • 50 teachers were trained
  • 65 classrooms were built and 429 classrooms were restored, increasing the number of  safe spaces for children
  • A “self-study” curriculum was created so children can continue learning with the support of an adult, when there are no trained teachers. This has helped 1,200 children continue learning.
  • 123,740 children in over 264 schools received school-bags containing school supplies
  • 112,284 children gained access to School Clubs where they continue learning, playing and get the support they need to cope with the trauma they have experienced. This helps them to feel secure and have a sense of structure in daily life. This is an extremely important aspect of helping children affected by conflict to cope, and to breaking ongoing cycles of violence.

Image: Sebastian Rich ©

These outcomes are great, however, more must still be done.

Around the world, an estimated 75 million kids do not have access to education because of conflict or crisis. More than half of these children are girls. And part of the roadblock to access comes from lack of funds for organizations like UNICEF who are able to provide the essential services (like the ones above) for children to be able to get an education. Humanitarian aid often prioritizes food, health, and shelter over provision of education, and there is now an estimated annual need of $8.5 billion USD for education in emergencies.

This is why Salma and CHIME FOR CHANGE have joined and supported Global Citizen’s campaign #BooksBuildLives, calling on world leaders to commit to a new fund, the ‘Education Cannot Wait’ Fund, at the World Humanitarian Summit this May in Istanbul.

You can see the impact that almost $200,000 USD can have, now be a part of asking governments to give the billions needed to bring education to the millions of children whose lives and schooling have been disrupted by conflict or disaster.

Check out the full impact report here.


Defeat Poverty

Salma Hayek Pinault campaign helps UNICEF to reach more than 112,000 Syrian children with learning opportunities

By Meghan Werft